Innovative ways of carrying out bank transactions appear to be all the rage in the UAE.
In the past year, the consumer banking industry has seen the first thumb-verification system, accounts that can be opened in 30 minutes and gold-dispensing ATMs.
Two of those innovations mentioned above were introduced by Al Hilal, an Abu Dhabi-based Islamic bank, which prides itself on its "commitment to innovation and customer convenience".
Now, the three-year-old bank has taken that mantra one step further by introducing the region's first drive-thru bank at its new Jumeirah branch on Dubai's Al Wasl Road.
The "money station" allows customers to drive into one of three lanes to carry out transactions such as cash withdrawals, deposits and the opening of new accounts.
Using "tube technology" already piloted in the US, the customer simply stops the car, speaks to the cashier on a screen and then inserts cash, documents or cheques into a transparent plastic capsule and presses send.
The capsule then shoots up a tube to the cashier and the customer waits for the transaction to be completed before it is sent back down the tube with cash or receipts.
"From day one, our focus has been innovation in our products and services and how we deliver them. This is a full, comprehensive banking solution, which means customers don't need to get out of their car," says Mohamed Berro, the group chief executive of Al Hilal Bank, who says he expects the majority of the branch's business to take place at the drive-thru station thanks to the "ease and flexibility" of the service.
"Dubai is a city that has always been at the forefront of innovation and this is another innovation that fits very well with the DNA of Dubai."
For more information, go to www.alhilalbank.ae.
Emirates Islamic Bank (EIB) is offering customers the chance to win up to Dh180,000 when they open a new salary transfer account with the bank.
The latest campaign from the Islamic financial institution runs until the end of April.
By opening a new salary transfer account during the promotion period, customers will automatically be entered into a raffle draw for a grand prize of 12 times their monthly salary or a maximum amount of Dh180,000, to be paid in 12 monthly instalments.
The bank is also offering 20 lucky winners the chance to walk away with 25 grams of gold coins each.
To be eligible for the offer, applicants need to be aged between 21 and 65 years and earn a minimum monthly salary of Dh3,000.
"Emirates Islamic Bank has devised this campaign to encourage more customers to set up salary transfer accounts with us, to benefit from a range of our personal finance options," says Faisal Aqil, the general manager of retail banking at EIB.
"We have deliberately tried to keep the salary threshold at Dh3,000 to enable a larger banking population to take advantage of this offer."
Go to www.emiratesislamicbank.ae for more information.